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Verrill Dana, LLP

Verrill Dana, LLP is one of New England's preeminent regional law firms. With offices in Portland and Augusta, ME; Boston, MA; Westport, CT; Providence, RI; and Washington D.C. Verrill Dana provides sophisticated legal representation to businesses and individuals in the traditional areas of litigation, real estate, business law, labor and employment law, employee benefits, environmental law, intellectual property and estate planning.  The Firm also has industry-focused specialties including higher education, health care and health technology, energy, and timberlands. 

Disclaimer:  The content presented in this blog is for general information only, is not intended to constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by any person as legal advice. While we welcome you to contact our blog authors at, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you. 

Entries in FMLA (18)


Upcoming Event: An Employer's Roadmap to Navigate Family & Medical Leave

Navigating the Family & Medical Leave Act is difficult, there’s no question about that—but with an acute sense of where major pitfalls often hide, you are in a better position to navigate the difficulties that most often accompany sticky FMLA issues. On Wednesday, October 25 from 7:45am to 9:30am, Verrill Dana's Labor & Employment Group will host a complimentary seminar, providing all skill levels with the tools they need to appropriately respond to and track FMLA leave.  Panel discussions of real-life scenarios will provide attendees with skills as to navigating intermittent leave requests and unresponsive doctors with an ever-present discussion of what these scenarios would look like in litigation. Speakers include Verrill Dana labor and employment attorneys Doug Currier, Rob Brooks, Tawny Alvarez, and Joanna Bowers. Learn more about the event and register online here. 

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Connecticut Pay Equity Bill Moves Forward

Earlier this week, bill HB5591, which has been touted as legislation that will help to close the gender pay gap between Connecticut employees, cleared the House of Representatives with a vote of 139-9.  The bill, unlike the Massachusetts law that goes into effect next year, does not include a provision that would prevent employers from asking applicants about their salary history before making a job offer. 

Many other states across the country, however, have bills similar to that passed by Massachusetts pending, including in Maine, which would restrict employers’ abilities to request information concerning previous rates of pay. Prior to this legislation moving forward, Lee Hansen in the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research published a comparison of Massachusetts and Connecticut’s labor laws relative to gender wage discrimination in a Research Report on December 16, 2016.

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DOL Interpretation Could Have Big Wage & Hour and FMLA Implications

Big stuff from our friends at the U.S. Department of Labor: on Wednesday, they issued an interpretation regarding workers’ status as employees versus independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Apparently, we’ve all been doing this wrong. According to the DOL, “most workers are employees under the FLSA.” They base this conclusion upon the multi-factorial “economic realities” test that courts use to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under the FLSA, which focuses on whether the worker is economically dependent on the employer or in business for him or herself. The interpretation contains a lengthy discussion of the relevant FLSA definitions and the statute’s scope to make the DOL’s argument.

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UPCOMING SEMINAR/WEBINAR: The (F)riday (M)onday (L)eave (A)ct vs. Legitimate FMLA Leave

The serious health condition of an employee or his or her family member may entitle the employee to protected leave under either the state or federal Family and Medical Leave Act. But how do you manage this leave? Or, once you’ve figured out how to manage the leave, what do you do when you find out that during the course of the leave the employee has taken a long awaited trip to the Caribbean when they indicated they were caring for an ill family member? Or, how do you respond when an employee’s intermittent leave coincidentally is occurring to provide the employee with long weekends?

This program will present a hypothetical FMLA leave situation in which the employer is presented with a series of complex challenges. Led by Tawny Alvarez, attendees will discuss best practices for responding to these challenges and limiting liability as they navigate around this complex leave statute.

March 19, 8:30 - 10:00 AM

Verrill Dana
One Portland Square, 9th Floor
Portland, ME 04101

Attendees to this seminar will receive complimentary light breakfast and the opportunity to network with colleagues and our Labor & Employment attorneys before and after the program. This program will also be webcast for those unable to attend.

Register to attend this seminar.

Register to participate in this webinar.


CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES….COME ON…IT’S A CELEBRATION: DOL Issues Final Rule on Definition of “Spouse”

On February 25, 2014, the United States Department of Labor issued a Final Rule revising the definition of “spouse” under the FMLA to conform to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, which as previously discussed here, held that Section 3 of DOMA, which excludes state-sanctioned, same-sex marriages from the federal definition of marriage, is unconstitutional. Under the current regulatory definition of spouse, eligible employees in a legal same-sex marriage can only take FMLA leave if the state in which they live recognizes same-sex marriage. Under the revised rule, which goes into effect on March 27, 2015, the DOL moves away from a “state of residence” rule to a rule based on the law of the state where the marriage was entered into. Under the new “place of celebration” rule, eligible employees in a legal marriage—either same-sex, opposite-sex, or common law—will now have consistent FMLA leave rights regardless of where they live.


Who Signed that Doctor's Note?

The 8th Circuit recently held that the FLSA’s “continuing treatment” requirement means more than just walking into a clinic and leaving with a prescription. In Johnson v. Wheeling Mach, Prods. (8th Cir. No. 13-3786 Feb. 20, 2015) the employer terminated the Plaintiff after violations of the company attendance policy. The Plaintiff claimed interference with his FMLA rights because he left work early with a headache, blurred vision, stiff neck, and back pain. Upon leaving work, the Plaintiff claims he visited a walk-in clinic where a physician’s assistant, whom he had never met, diagnosed him with high blood pressure and gave him a prescription. 

The court held that the FMLA regulations do not allow for protected leave after a single visit combined with a course of medications. Instead, under the FMLA, the treatment must be under the “supervision” of the plaintiff’s healthcare provider. The record showed that the physician’s assistant was not the Plaintiff’s regular health care provider and the P.A. never asked the Plaintiff to follow up on his condition. Therefore, the Plaintiff was not “under a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervisions of a health care provider.” 

Dealing with a  tricky FMLA issue? Join us on March 19, for a complimentary Seminar/Webinar!